Border Disputes Must Be Resolved Through Diplomatic Channels

Afghanistan’s border disputes with its neighbors, especially Pakistan and Iran, have a long history. Although these conflicts have many dimensions, one of the factors in both cases is border divisions. The dispute over the Durand Line dates back almost to its antiquity. Border disputes with Iran have continued since 1946. These conflicts have had many ups and downs over time. However, it has never been completely resolved. Neither Zahir Shah’s tolerance with Pakistan has been able to resolve the disputes over Durand Line nor Davood Khan’s claim. After that, this problem remains unsolved. Immigration and water also occasionally lead to conflicts with Iran. Proper implementation of the 1973 agreement on the division of Helmand water between the two countries has become a challenge. Iran wants more water, and Afghanistan insists its western neighbor is already getting more.

There have been reports of border clashes since the Taliban returned to power four and a half months ago. In the past month alone, Taliban forces have fought against three neighboring countries. On December 1, Taliban forces clashed with Iranian border guards in Nimroz, claiming that three Iranian border checkpoints had fallen to the Taliban for hours. A few days ago, they clashed again with Pakistani border guards in Nimroz, and videos have been released of the Taliban destroying the Pakistani border fence. The last border clash with neighbors took place yesterday in the north; Where Taliban forces clashed with Turkmen border guards in the Khamab district of Jawzjan.

Whatever the reason for these conflicts, it should not determine the relationship with the neighbors. The weak body of the country cannot bear the burden of foreign wars. It is no secret that a large part of Afghanistan’s problems is due to the Durand Line. The issue of this line, if not resolved yet, cannot be addressed forever. The Taliban’s military actions, however, complicate matters further. Previously, each time a dispute arose, it was temporarily managed.

The question now is how the Taliban will deal with the border disputes. Whatever action is taken by the neighbors, the most direct action of the Taliban is armed conflict. Military intervention should not be the first option in dealing with its neighbors. If the Taliban government controls its armed forces, it must make it clear to them that the country’s diplomatic apparatus is responsible for resolving disputes, and that the military must not add to the country’s problems through its recklessness.

Afghanistan has to rely on its neighbors to reach the world market. The ports of Gwadar and Karachi will not provide any opportunities for Afghanistan without cooperation with Pakistan. When there is no good cooperation with Iran, we will not reach Bandar Abbas and Chabahar. Our northern neighbors are also good partners for the country and, we are implementing some projects together. A military response to any conflict can cast a shadow over the country’s relations with its neighbors. In that case, in addition to disrupting trade, it will also damage large projects such as Casa-1000, TUTAp, Railway, TAPI, and so on. It is good to avoid military confrontation.